Trends in International Maths and Science Survey (TIMSS) 2007 - Highlights From Scotland's Results

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Introduction

The Trends in International Maths and Science Survey ( TIMSS) is an international assessment of pupil attainment in maths and science at primary and secondary school level. TIMSS is run by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement ( IEA) and takes place every four years. Scotland has participated in TIMSS every year since its inception in 1995, except for 1999.

A total of 59 countries and eight benchmarking participants (e.g. Canadian provinces) took part in the study in 2007. Eighteen of the 59 countries were within the OECD, with the remainder being non- OECD, including a number classified as 'developing' 1.

The Scottish fieldwork was undertaken by the National Foundation for Educational Research ( NFER). The assessments were administered in Spring 2007 and contained a mixture of multiple choice and constructed response items (requiring pupils to generate and write their answers).Separate representative samples of Scottish primary and secondary schools took part in the assessment (139 primary schools and 129 secondary schools). From these schools, usually one class, occasionally two classes, were randomly selected to give a total sample of 3,929 P5 pupils and 4,070 S2 pupils.

This paper highlights the main Scottish results, sets them in the international context, and looks at Scotland's performance in maths and science since 1995.

How does the study assess attainment in maths and science?

TIMSS assesses the performance of pupils in maths and science at 4th grade (generally nine and ten year olds) and again at 8 th grade (generally thirteen and fourteen year olds). The survey design is based on stage rather than on age. As Scottish pupils begin formal schooling earlier than those of many other countries, it was agreed with the IEA that P5 and S2 pupils should be tested in Scotland as these year groups are the best match to 4 th grade and 8 th grade, respectively (a similar arrangement also applies to England and New Zealand). The average age at the time of testing in Scotland at P5 was 9.8 years, and in S2 it was 13.7 years. This means that Scotland's pupils were amongst the youngest of all pupils tested at both grades.

Interpreting the results of TIMSS

Similar to other international studies, the number and range of countries participating in TIMSS, and the grades assessed in each country (i.e. grade 4 or grade 8 or both) varies from one cycle of the study to the next.

In order to account for this, attainment results for TIMSS 2007 are calculated and presented in relation to a fixed scale (international) average set at 500. This TIMSS scale average uses the 1995 international average as the fixed point of reference. This avoids any misinterpretation of individual countries' attainment results in relation to the international average which can rise and fall due to different countries taking part in the survey in each cycle. Nevertheless, for other aspects of the survey such as pupil confidence, assessment methods, etc. the results are presented in relation to the international average for the countries that participated in TIMSS 2007.

Of the 59 countries that took part in TIMSS in 2007,18 were within the OECD, with the remainder being non- OECD, including a number of countries classified as 'developing'. 2Given the large number of different countries taking part in TIMSS, comparisons in this report are largely focused on OECD members as they are regarded as more meaningful than all country comparisons.

It should also be noted that in this report, differences between figures are only reported if they are statistically significant. In other words, results are only reported where we can be confident at the 95% level that differences are real, rather than due to chance in sampling. For example, New Zealand scored two points below Scotland in grade 4 maths (P5) but this difference is not statistically significant, i.e. we cannot be sure that this difference in scores is real rather than due to chance. Therefore, New Zealand's score is said to be no different to, or similar to, Scotland's.

Scotland's performance compared to OECD countries

Comparisons in this section are focused on the 18 OECD countries that participated in TIMSS 2007. Sixteen OECD countries (counting Scotland and England separately) took part in the maths and science assessment at grade 4. Twelve OECD countries took part at grade 8. A full list of countries, including OECD members, which took part in TIMSS at each grade and their results compared to Scotland's are shown in the tables in Annex B.

Average scores

Maths

Scotland's average score in P5 maths in 2007 was 494. Eleven OECD countries including England scored higher than Scotland, two OECD countries scored similarly (New Zealand and the Slovak Republic), and two OECD countries scored below Scotland (Czech Republic and Norway).

Scotland's average score in S2 maths in 2007 was 487. Six OECD countries including England scored higher than Scotland, three OECD countries scored similarly (Australia, Sweden, Italy), and two OECD countries (Norway and Turkey) scored below Scotland.

Science

Scotland's average score in P5 science in 2007 was 500. Thirteen OECD countries scored including England scored above Scotland, one OECD country scored similarly (New Zealand) and one OECD country (Norway) scored below Scotland.

Scotland's average score in S2 science in 2007 was 496. Eight OECD countries including England scored above Scotland, one OECD country scored the same as Scotland (Italy) and two OECD countries scored below (Norway and Turkey).

The attainment distribution

The gap in scores between the lowest performers (25 th percentile - bottom quartile) and highest performers (75 th percentile - upper quartile) is used as a measure of educational equity.

Maths

The gap between the lowest and highest performers in P5 maths has narrowed since 1995 due to an increase in the score of low performers but also a decrease in the score of high performers (see chart 1).

Chart 1 Scottish pupils' attainment distribution in P5 maths

Chart 1 Scottish pupils' attainment distribution in P5 maths

Of the 15 other OECD countries that took part in TIMSS 2007 at grade 4, 10 countries had a narrower gap than Scotland between their highest and lowest performers in 2007.

After narrowing between 1995 and 2003, the gap between the lowest and highest performers in S2 maths increased over the four years to 2007 returning to a similar level to 1995 (chart 2).

Chart 2 Scottish pupils' attainment distribution in S2 maths

Chart 2 Scottish pupils' attainment distribution in S2 maths

Of the 11 other OECD countries that took part in TIMSS 2007 at grade 8, six countries had a narrower gap than Scotland between their highest and lowest performers.

Science

The attainment distribution between the lowest and highest performers in P5 science has narrowed between 1995 and 2007. However, this is due to a decrease in scores of the middle and higher performing learners rather than any increase at the bottom of the range.

Chart 3 Scottish pupils' attainment distribution in P5 science

Chart 3 Scottish pupils' attainment distribution in P5 science

Of the 15 other OECD countries that took part in TIMSS 2007 at grade 4, only three countries had a narrower gap between their top and low performers in grade 4 science.

There has been a narrowing of the attainment distribution in S2 science between 1995 and 2007, although this has come largely at the expense of Scotland's highest performers. Chart 4 also shows that the gain in performance at the lower end of the distribution between 1995 and 2003 was lost over the 4 years to 2007.

Chart 4 Scottish pupils' attainment distribution in S2 science

Chart 4 Scottish pupils' attainment distribution in S2 science

Of the 11 other OECD countries that took part in TIMSS 2007 at grade 8, eight countries had a narrower gap than Scotland between their highest and lowest performers.

Overall trends in maths and science attainment since 1995 3

Maths

Scotland's average score of 494 in P5 maths in 2007 remains similar to its score in both 1995 and 2003.

Similar to Scotland, two other OECD countries' (Japan and Norway) grade 4 maths scores remain unchanged compared to 1995. Four OECD countries have increased their scores (England, United States, Australia and New Zealand), whilst four OECD countries saw their scores decline (Netherlands, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic).

Scotland's average score in S2 maths has fallen by 10 points since 2003 (to 487) returning to a level similar to 1995.

Whilst three OECD countries have increased their grade 8 maths scores compared to 1995 (Republic of Korea, England and the United States) and six OECD countries saw theirs decline, Scotland was the only country whose score stayed the same.

Science

Scotland's average score of 500 in P5 science is similar to its score in 2003, but is 14 points lower than in 1995

Similar to Scotland, four other OECD countries (Japan, Austria, the Czech Republic and Norway) have seen their performance in grade 4 (P5) science decline compared to 1995. Norway experienced the biggest drop (27 points), followed by the Czech Republic (17 points), Scotland (14 points), Austria (12 points) and Japan (5 points).

Two OECD countries have increased their scores (England by 14 points, Hungary by 28 points) and four OECD countries scores have not changed (United States, Australia, Netherlands and New Zealand) compared to 1995.

Scotland's average score in S2 science has declined by 16 points since 2003 (to 496) returning to a similar level to 1995

Asides from Scotland, there were five other OECD countries whose performance in grade 8 science remained similar comparing scores in 1995 and 2007.

Only one OECD country managed to improve its performance; the Republic of Korea. Three OECD countries experienced a decline in performance (the Czech Republic, Norway and Sweden) compared to 1995.

Maths and science in focus - Scotland's performance across topic areas and by gender

The TIMSS maths and science content (topic areas) and cognitive domains are outlined in Annex A.

Subject area

Maths

Scotland's P5 pupils perform below the TIMSS scale average of 500 (see page 2) in number (481), similar to the average in the content domain of geometric shapes and measures (503) and higher in data display (516) (see chart 5). In the maths cognitive domains, Scotland's P5 pupils perform similar to the TIMSS scale average in knowing (489) and reasoning (497), but in applying they perform below average (500).

Chart 5 Scottish pupils' average scores across grade 4 maths topics

Chart 5 Scottish pupils' average scores across grade 4 maths topics

56 per cent of the time in maths classes in P5 in Scotland is spent on number, a higher percentage than the international average (50%), yet this is the content area in which Scotland performs the lowest .

Scotland's S2 pupils perform below the TIMSS scale average across 3 of the 4 content domain areas of number (489), algebra (467) and geometry (485),

Scotland's performance in algebra being the poorest of the three areas (see chart 6). However, our S2 pupils score considerably above the TIMSS scale average in data and chance (517), continuing the trend from primary school in data display. In the cognitive domains, Scotland's S2 pupils perform below average in knowing (481) and applying (489) and similar to the TIMSS scale average in reasoning (495).

Chart 6 Scottish pupils' average scores across grade 8 maths topics

Chart 6 Scottish pupils' average scores across grade 8 maths topics

In maths classes at S2, 36 per cent of time is spent on number, higher than the international average of 24 per cent, and an area in which Scotland's performance is weak. 24 per cent of time is spent on algebra, lower than the international average of 29 per cent, the area in which our performance is the weakest. Similarly, 22 per cent of maths class time is spent on geometry, again lower than the international average of 27 per cent. In the area in which we score higher than the TIMSS scale average - data and chance - Scotland's spends a similar amount of teaching time than other countries.

Science

Scotland's P5 pupils perform in line with the TIMSS scale average of 500 in life science (504) and physical science (499), and above average in earth science (508) (see chart 7). Scotland performs below the TIMSS scale average in knowing (511), higher in applying (494) and similar to the average in reasoning (501).

Chart 7 Scottish pupils' average scores across grade 4 science topics

Chart 7 Scottish pupils' average scores across grade 4 science topics

In P5 science classes, Scotland's pupils spend a similar amount of time on life science (41 per cent) and earth science (26 per cent) as the international average. A slightly higher amount of time is spent on physical science (29 per cent) compared to the international average and a lower amount of time spent on other science (4 per cent).

Scotland's S2 pupils perform in line with the TIMSS scale average across the four content domains of biology (495), chemistry (497), physics (494) and earth science (498). In the cognitive domains, Scotland's S2 pupils perform similar to the TIMSS scale average in knowing (480), below the average in applying (495) and above the average in reasoning (511).

Chart 8 Scottish pupils' average scores across grade 8 science topics

Chart 8 Scottish pupils' average scores across grade 8 science topics

In science classes at S2, Scotland's pupils spend a higher amount of time on chemistry (30 per cent), physics (31 per cent) and biology (32 per cent) than the international average. Scotland's S2 pupils spend a considerably lower amount of time on earth science (6 per cent) and 'other' science (1 per cent) than the international average.

Gender

Maths

Boys in Scotland scored significantly higher than girls in P5 maths (nine points higher) in 2007, but scored similarly in S2 maths.

Mirroring the overall results for Scotland, there has been little change in girls' and boys' P5 maths scores compared to 1995. However, girls' S2 maths scores have declined significantly since 2003 (down by 14 points to 486) although they remain the same as in 1995. In other words, the improvement gained by S2 girls in maths scores between 1995 and 2003 was lost by 2007.

Science

There were no differences between boys and girls science scores in Scotland at either P5 or S2 in 2007. Both boys' and girls' P5 science scores have declined significantly (by 15 points and 12 points respectively), compared to 1995.

Girls' S2 science scores increased between 1995 and 2003 but declined by 13 points over the four years to 2007 to return to a level similar to that in 1995. In comparison, boys' S2 science scores were stable between 1995 and 2003 but declined over the four years to 2007 to leave them 16 points lower than in 1995.

Learning and teaching in the international context

What do Scottish pupils think about maths?

Chart 9 illustrates Scottish pupils' attitudes towards maths in P5 and S2 and their confidence in learning maths. 4

A relatively high proportion of Scottish P5 pupils (67%) are confident in learning maths compared to pupils from other OECD countries (only four OECD countries scored higher). However, pupil enjoyment of P5 maths is relatively lower (59%), with 10 OECD countries scoring higher than Scotland and only two OECD countries scoring lower.

Again, repeating the pattern at primary level, a relatively high proportion of S2 pupils express a high level of confidence in learning maths (53%). Alongside the United States and England, this is one of the highest figures of the OECD countries. However, the proportion of S2 pupils who reported enjoying maths is much lower (33%), and also lower than six OECD countries. It can also be seen from chart 9 that both confidence and enjoyment of maths are higher at P5 than S2.

Chart 9 Scottish pupils' attitudes towards maths

Chart 9 Scottish pupils' attitudes towards maths

What do Scottish pupils think about science?

Chart 10 illustrates Scottish pupils' attitudes towards science in P5 and S2 (based on similar indices as above).

70% of Scottish P5 pupils reported enjoying science, although this was lower than nine other OECD countries.

Similarly, 62% of Scottish P5 pupils expressed a high level of confidence in learning science. Although this is higher than the international average (61%), Scotland's figure is lower than 10 other OECD countries.

Chart 10 Scottish pupils' attitudes towards science

Chart 10 Scottish pupils' attitudes towards science

Over half (56%) of Scottish S2 pupils reported enjoying science, similar to a number of other OECD countries. Over half (52%) of S2 pupils also expressed a high level of confidence in learning science. Again, S2 pupils' enjoyment of and confidence in learning science are lower than in P5.

Teaching and assessment in the maths classroom

At P5, nine out of ten (91%) pupils have teachers who feel 'very well' prepared to teach maths (data from teacher questionnaires). No country scored higher than Scotland, although a number of OECD countries scored similarly including England, Denmark and United States.

Similarly, there are few perceived limitations on maths teaching in Scotland due to student factors. 5 Six out of ten (60%) teachers reported 'few or no limitations'. Scotland's score is similar to a number of other OECD countries and higher than the international average (45%).

In terms of teaching methods, 72% of P5 pupils in Scotland are taught with a maths textbook as the primary method of instruction (above the international average of 65%), whilst 28% are taught with textbook as a supplementary resource (lower than the international average of 30%). There has been no significant change in these teaching methods since 2003. Computer availability in P5 maths classes at 93% is relatively high, and represents a 12 percentage point increase in Scotland since 2003.

In terms of emphasis on maths homework, around nine out of ten (87%) P5 pupils have teachers who place a low emphasis on maths homework (data from teacher questionnaires). In comparison to other OECD countries, the Netherlands has a higher figure (97%), New Zealand has a similar figure (84%), whilst the Czech Republic (82%) and England are slightly lower (80%). 6

Scotland's low emphasis on maths homework by teachers ties in with figures on frequency of homework and time spent on homework (data from pupil questionnaires). Two thirds (67%) of P5 pupils in Scotland reported a low level of maths homework. In comparison to other OECD countries, Scotland's figure is second only to the Netherlands (89%) and similar to England (66%). 7

At S2 level, almost all (96%) pupils have teachers who feel 'very well' prepared to teach maths (data from teacher questionnaires). Alongside England, Scotland is one of the highest scoring countries in this respect.

There are few perceived limitations on maths teaching at S2 due to student factors. Seven out of ten teachers in Scotland reported 'few or no limitations', Scotland being the highest scoring country in this respect, alongside England.

In terms of teaching methods, 72% of S2 pupils are taught with a maths textbook as the primary method of instruction, unchanged since 2003, but above the international average of 60%. 27% of S2 pupils are taught with a textbook as a supplementary resource. Computer availability within maths classes at S2 is 37%, higher than the international average, but representing no change since 2003.

In terms of emphasis on maths homework at S2, just over half (55%) of pupils have teachers who place a low emphasis on homework (data from teacher questionnaires). In comparison to other OECD countries, Scotland's figure is lower than the Czech Republic, and similar to England, Japan, Sweden and the Republic of Korea, but higher than other OECD countries and the international average (36%).

Similarly, around half (51%) of S2 pupils report a low level of maths homework assignment and time doing that homework. This was higher than some other OECD countries and the international average (put % in). However, an even higher proportion of pupils in England (65%), Sweden (62%), the Republic of Korea (62%) and Japan (57%) reported this to be the case.

In terms of assessment, two thirds (66%) of S2 pupils have teachers who place a major emphasis on classroom tests in maths, no different to the international average, whilst just under half (47%) of pupils have teachers who place a major emphasis on the teacher's own professional judgement, again no different to the international average. 17% of pupils have teachers who place a major emphasis on national or regional tests, below the international average of 27%.

Teaching and assessment in the science classroom

At P5, around half (51%) of pupils have teachers who feel 'very well' prepared to teach science. This is similar to the international average, although six OECD countries scored higher than Scotland.

There are few perceived limitations on science teaching at P5 due to student factors: 76% of teachers report 'few or no limitations', one of the highest scores alongside 7 other OECD countries

In terms of textbook usage, 5% of Scottish P5 pupils are taught with a science textbook as the primary basis, well below the international average of 52%. This represents a 34 percentage point decrease since 2003, the biggest change across OECD countries.

In terms of science homework, almost all (95%) P5 pupils have teachers who place a low emphasis on science homework. This figure is one of the highest figures alongside six other OECD countries (Denmark, Australia, Austria, New Zealand, Norway and the Czech Republic) and is higher than the international average (65%) and other OECD countries, including England (88%).

This figure ties in with nine out of ten (89%) P5 pupils in Scotland having a low frequency of science homework and time spent on that homework. Alongside the Netherlands, Scotland has the highest percentage of pupils which are set a low level of science homework, above England (83%), other OECD comparators and the international average (57%).

At S2 two-thirds (68%) of pupils have teachers who feel 'very well' prepared to teach science. This is similar to the international average, although six OECD countries scored higher.

At S2 level, there are few perceived limitations on science teaching due to student factors: 45% of Scottish teachers report 'few or no limitations', similar to 6 OECD countries and considerably above the international average (37%).

In terms of emphasis on science homework by teachers at S2 level, a similar pattern to P5 is apparent. A high proportion (86%) of pupils have teachers who place a low emphasis on science homework (data from teacher questionnaires). Compared to other countries, including OECD members, Scotland is second only to the Czech Republic and considerably higher than England (60%).

Similarly, three out of four (76%) of S2 pupils report a low level of science homework assignment and time spent doing that homework. In terms of comparisons to other OECD countries, Scotland is second only to Japan in this respect, and similar to the Republic of Korea, and considerably above a number of OECD countries including England (62%).

One in five (22%) S2 pupils are taught with a science textbook as the primary basis, which is considerably below the international average (53%). 68% are taught with a textbook as a supplementary resource which is higher than the international average (40%).

In terms of emphasis on sources to monitor pupils' progress in science at S2 level, 85% of pupils have teachers who place a major emphasis on classroom tests (higher than the international average of 62%). 39% of pupils have teachers who place a major emphasis on teacher's own professional judgement, below the international average of 45%, whilst 9% of pupils have teachers who place a major emphasis on national or regional tests, considerably lower than the international average of 27%.

Annex A The TIMSS Assessment Framework and Methods

The assessments framework and questions used in TIMSS are developed by an international panel of mathematics and science education and assessment experts and approved by all participating countries. In addition, participants needed to meet stringent criteria (including rigorous sampling requirements, quality controlled survey procedures, multiple marking of tests, and rigorous data-cleaning) to ensure that the results are comparable between countries. Assessments include both maths and science questions.

The framework and assessment for TIMSS 2007 is organised around two dimensions, a content dimension specifying the domains or subject matter to be assessed and a cognitive dimension specifying the domains or thinking processes to be assessed, namely knowing, applying, and reasoning. The content domains differ for the fourth and eighth grades, reflecting the nature and difficulty of maths and science widely taught at each grade. Table A.1 below shows the target percentages of testing time devoted to each subject area and cognitive domains in maths and science at grade 4 and grade 8.

Table A.1 Percentages of assessment time devoted to subject areas and cognitive domains in maths and science at grade 4 and grade 8

Maths

Science

Grade 4

Grade 8

Grade 4

Grade 8

Subject

Subject

Subject

Subject

Number

50%

Number

30%

Life Science

45%

Biology

35%

Geometric Shapes and Measures

35%

Algebra

30%

Physical Science

35%

Physics

25%

Data Display

15%

Geometry

20%

Earth Science

20%

Chemistry

20%

Data and chance

20%

Earth Science

20%

Cognitive

Cognitive

Knowing

40%

Knowing

35%

Knowing

40%

Knowing

30%

Applying

40%

Applying

40%

Applying

35%

Applying

35%

Reasoning

20%

Reasoning

25%

Reasoning

25%

Reasoning

35%

Further detail on the TIMSS assessment framework can be found on the TIMSS website http://timss.bc.edu/index.html.

TIMSS also collects background information from pupils, teachers and Headteachers that can be examined to assess the effects of school, class and teacher level influences on performance in maths and science. High response rates (over 78%) were achieved for the pupil, teacher and Headteacher questionnaires.

Annex B Overview of TIMSS 2007 Results

This Annex provides an overview of Scotland's TIMSS 2007 results compared to all countries that took part in TIMSS.

Comparisons are based on statistical significance, i.e. differences are only reported where we can be confident at the 95% level that differences are real, rather than due to chance in sampling.

Table B.1 Comparison of Scotland's average score in grade 4 (P5) maths

Significantly higher mean score than Scotland

Mean score not significantly different from Scotland

Significantly lower mean score than Scotland

19 countries (in order):

Hong Kong SAR

Singapore

Chinese Taipei

Japan

Kazahstan

Russian Federation

England

Latvia

Netherlands

Lithuania

United States

Germany

Denmark

Australia

Hungary

Italy

Austria

Sweden

Slovenia

And 6 benchmarking participants:

Massachusetts, US

Minnesota, US

Quebec, Canada

Alberta, Canada

British Columbia, Canada

3 countries:

Armenia

Slovak Republic

New Zealand

13 countries including:

Czech Republic

Norway

Ukraine

Georgia

Iran, Islamic Republic of

Algeria

Colombia

Morocco

El Salvador

Tunisia

Kuwait

Qatar

Yemen

Note: The word 'significantly' refers to statistical significance.

The countries highlighted bold are OECD members.

Table B.2 Comparison of Scotland's average score in grade 8 (S2)
maths

Significantly higher mean score than Scotland

Mean score not significantly different from Scotland

Significantly lower mean score than Scotland

13 countries:

Chinese Taipei

Korea, Republic of

Singapore

Hong Kong SAR

Japan

Hungary

England

Russian Federation

United States

Lithuania

Czech Republic

Slovenia

Armenia

And 7 benchmarking participants:

Massachusetts, US

Minnesota, US

Quebec, Canada

Alberta, Canada

British Columbia, Canada

Basque Country, Spain

5 countries:

Australia

Sweden

Malta

Serbia

Italy

30 countries including:

Malaysia

Norway

Cyprus

Bulgaria

Israel

Ukraine

Romania

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Lebanon

Thailand

Turkey

Jordan

Tunisia

Georgia

Iran, Islamic Republic of

Bahrain

Indonesia

Syrian Arab Republic

Egypt

Algeria

Colombia

Oman

Palestinian National Authority

Botswana

Kuwait

El Salvador

Saudi Arabia

Ghana

Qatar

Morocco

And one benchmarking

participant: Dubai, UAE

Note: The word 'significantly' refers to statistical significance.

The countries highlighted bold are OECD members.

Table B.3 Comparison of Scotland's average score in P5 science

Significantly higher mean score than Scotland

Mean score not significantly different from Scotland

Significantly lower mean score than Scotland (selected countries)

21 countries:

Singapore

Chinese Taipei

Hong Kong SAR

Japan

Russian Federation

Latvia

England

United States

Hungary

Italy

Kazakstan

Germany

Australia

Slovak Republic

Austria

Sweden

Netherlands

Slovenia

Denmark

Czech Republic

Lithuania

And 6 benchmarking participants:

Massachusetts, US

Minnesota, US

Quebec, Canada

Alberta, Canada

British Columbia, Canada

1 country:

New Zealand

13 countries:

Armenia

Norway

Ukraine

Iran

Georgia

Colombia

El Salvador

Algeria

Kuwait

Tunisia

Morocco

Qatar

Yemen

Note: The word 'significantly' refers to statistical significance.

The countries highlighted bold are OECD members.

Table B.4 Comparison of Scotland's average score in S2 science

Significantly higher mean score than Scotland
(all countries)

Mean score not significantly different from Scotland

Significantly lower mean score than Scotland (selected countries)

14 countries

Singapore

Chinese Taipei

Japan

Korea, Republic of

England

Hungary

Czech Republic

Slovenia

Hong Kong SAR

Russian Federation

United States

Lithuania

Australia

Sweden

2 countries:

Italy

Armenia

2 benchmarking participants:

Basque Country, Spain

Dubai, UAE

32 countries including:

Norway

Ukraine

Jordan

Malaysia

Thailand

Serbia

Bulgaria

Israel

Bahrain

Bosnia and Herzogovina

Romania

Iran, Islamic Republic of

Malta

Turkey

Syrian Arab Republic

Cyprus

Tunisia

Indonesia

Oman

Georgia

Kuwait

Colombia

Lebanon

Egypt

Algeria

Palestinian National Authority

Saudi Arabia

El Salvador

Botswana

Qatar

Ghana

Morocco

1 benchmarking participant: Dubai, UAE

Note: The word 'significantly' refers to statistical significance.

The countries highlighted bold are OECD members.

How will the results of TIMSS be used?

Combined with other national and international studies of pupil achievement, these results will help to inform and monitor developments in the curriculum and improving learning and teaching in maths and science in Scotland. Benchmarking Scotland's performance internationally is also important. Comparing Scotland's education system and performance with other

countries gives us an insight into our strengths and weaknesses in an international context. This helps us to identify areas where we need to focus our resources and acknowledge and celebrate our successes, as well as improve our performance.

Want to know more?

TIMSS

For more information about the TIMSS 2007 results in Scotland, please contact Jackie Horne (tel: 0131-244-0740; e-mail: jackie.horne@scotland.gsi.gov.uk ).

For more information about the TIMSS 2007 International Report please go to the International Study Centre website: http://timss.bc.edu/

Other international studies

If you would like to learn more about international studies, that include Scotland, please visit, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/Schools/Excellence/benchmarking and http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/assess/of/internationalstudies.asp

The Scottish Survey of Achievement

The Scottish Survey of Achievement ( SSA) uses a sample survey to find out how well pupils are learning in Scotland as a whole. The information is used to help plan for improvement to support quality learning and teaching. For more information about the SSA and results, please visit Learning and Teaching Scotland's assessment website, www.ltscotland.org.uk/assess/of/ssa

HMIE

HM Inspectors of Education ( HMIE) promote sustainable improvements in standards, quality and achievements for all learners in Scottish education through independent evaluation. If you would like information about inspections of Scottish schools, or are interested in knowing more about good practice in Scottish education please visit, www.hmie.gov.uk

Your child's progress and achievements

If you would like to know more about how your own child is progressing, or you have concerns about their learning, you should get in touch with the school and talk to your child's teachers.